Christmas has come a little early for Doug Lowes.
A chance purchase of a lottery ticket put $4.9 million in the pocket of the Cranbrook resident, who stopped by a lottery kiosk at the Tamarack Centre after volunteering at a Salvation Army kettle on Friday outside Canadian Tire.
“When I finished my gig there, I was there from 10 to noon at the Christmas Kettle, I bought some stuff at the store for the mine that I was going to use for my lunch bag which I don’t need now,” Lowes said
“I was feeling pretty good, it always feels good to do some volunteer work, so I went over and bought a ticket.”
The winning Lotto 6/49 numbers, announced on Sunday, matched the sequence that was on Lowes’ ticket, a $20 Mega Pack that included Lotto 6/49, BC49 and Lotto Max.
“It’s just a sporadic thing and I always just do a quick pick, so some days I’ll play it, some days I don’t,” Lowes said. “Usually I don’t even buy at the mall, I’m usually buying at the Husky in Sparwood.”
He spent much of his weekend working on his acreage and wasn’t paying attention to the winning numbers until he got a text from a coworker on Sunday who told him that a winning ticket had been sold in Cranbrook.
“I went in the kitchen, grabbed my tickets and they matched and there was a bunch of high-fiving going on and then I called him back and said I have the winning numbers,” Lowes said. “He said, ‘I don’t believe you, send me a picture.'”
Lowes, a heavy equipment operator in the Elk Valley mines, has chosen an early retirement, calling up Teck soon after he confirmed his ticket was the winner.
“It’s time to retire,” Lowes, 50, said. “Teck’s been good to me, it’s been a well paying job and a steady job, but if I retire, it makes way for an unemployed person to get a job.”
He was in the middle of his days off and scheduled to return on Monday before the lottery win changed everything.
As for plans for the unexpected windfall, a planned vacation in January just got rescheduled in order to spend Christmas on a beach.
“Our first biggest spend is a vacation,” Lowes said. “I had a vacation booked for January, we’re going to bump that up a few weeks and go to Cuba here probably by the end of the week.”
The pot was $10 million split between Lowes and another ticket that was sold in Quebec.